Hampton woman sentenced for tax refund fraud, identity theft

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A 44-year-old Hampton woman was sentenced Wednesday to serve nine years in prison for tax refund fraud and identity theft.

Tonya Nicole Matthews, aka Tonya Nicole Williams, was already on a federal supervised release from a previous conviction for tax refund fraud when she committed her most recent crimes.

According to court documents, over a period of four years, Williams filed 172 fraudulent federal income tax returns in the names of 75 stolen identities for over $450,000.

In each return, it was claimed that the individuals in whose names they were filed, earned income from one of three fake businesses that Matthews created.

To help legitimize the claims, Williams incorporated the businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, registered with the IRS and filed false wage and withholding documents where she claimed the businesses had paid millions of dollars in wages to her identity theft victims and withheld over $500,000 in taxes from those wages as required by law.

The returns were all filed electronically from Williams’ Hampton home.

The claimed refunds were directed to be deposited onto prepaid debit card accounts that were opened in the victims’ names.